George Durno Cowie was born December 30, 1888, at Ogdensburg,
N.Y., the son of Charles and Chrissie A. Cowie. He was educated
in the public schools there and at Ogdensburg Academy. Enrolled
at Clarkson College of Technology, Potsdam, N.Y., he received
the degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1912
and the professional Civil Engineering degree in 1920.
He entered on duty with the Bureau on July 1, 1910. From that
time until his death his assignments in both field and office
were varied. These included field work in triangulation; precise
leveling; astronomical determinations of latitude, longitude,
and azimuth in the United States and Alaska; gravity determinations;
traverse measurements; magnetic measurements, ship and shore;
coast pilot field and office work; and various other
During his service he was in command of various survey vessels
operating in the Philippines and elsewhere. In 1933 he was placed
in charge of the New York Field Station serving in that capacity
until 1936. During the latter assignment he directed a triangulation
survey extending from the vicinity of Brunswick, N.J., through
Trenton southward along the Delaware River. Also under his direction
new hydrographic surveys were made in the vicinity of Long Island
which brought up to date the information on charts used by New
York and Long Island yachtsmen.
Returning to Washington in 1937 Commander Cowie was assigned
as Assistant Chief of the Division of Geodesy and in 1938 as
Assistant Chief of Hydrography and Topography. His final assignment
as Director of Coast Surveys in the Philippine Islands came
in March 1941.
Commander Cowie was highly regarded as an officer, and he leaves
a record of many splendid contributions to the work of the Bureau.
Greatly devoted to his work, he was also an enthusiastic participant
in the social and recreational activities of the Bureau. His
courtesy and friendliness were unfailing, and he was held in
highest esteem by his fellow workers.
Commander Cowie is survived by Mrs. Cowie, who was also in Manila
at the time of his death; a son, George D. Cowie, Jr., a student
at Clarkson College of Technology; and four daughters, Mrs.
Louise Angelo of Arlington, Virginia, Miss Jane Cowie of Washington,
Miss Betty Cowie of Stamford, Connecticut, and Miss Teedy Cowie
who accompanied her father and mother to Manila.
Commander Cowie was a member of the American Society of Civil
Engineers, the Society of American Military Engineers, and the
United States Naval Institute.